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Last week was one of the most professionally demanding weeks I’ve experienced in a long while. It’s generally pretty busy at this time anyway, but add on the additional pressures of setting a balanced budget, challenges at the school I’m supporting in Westminster and a full governing body meeting, it was a relief to get to the weekend in one piece. And what better way to de-stress than a beautiful spring walk with Horace. One man and his dog unwinding in the sunshine.

Unfortunately, Horace had other ideas…

His determination to single-handedly clear up all of the leftovers from Friday’s One World Evening ensured my Saturday lie-in was thwarted.

Once on the Heath, several families who’d come out, perhaps a bit prematurely, to start the picnic season, had their day ruined by Horace’s determination to continue Friday’s buffet. The highlight was a prize pork pie, which left its former owner incandescent with rage.

A chance meeting with a rather beautiful poodle sent him into a chasing frenzy, which was sadly curtailed when he took out a morning jogger. Catching him perfectly just below the knee, the jogger hit the ground in a crumpled heap before letting out a particularly choice tirade of expletives, the essence of which was something along the lines of, ‘control your stupid dog’.

A lot of apologising later, we headed to the ponds. As a water dog, he was straight in. The dog shake that followed showered a family who’d come to feed the ducks.

What happened next had to be seen to be believed. Horace’s curiosity towards a nesting swan prompted the rather dramatic arrival of reinforcements, seeming set on revenge. A large crowd gathered to witness (and film) the resultant stand-off, the outcome of which was never in doubt.

His final misdemeanour was to help himself to a Mr Whippy held by a little girl in a pushchair.

At school, we talk a lot about behaviour choices. Choices have consequences and we always look to encourage positive actions, celebrating children who do the right thing. Continued poor choices mean that privileges and freedoms can be restricted. Now he’s back on the lead, he’s only got himself to blame.


Interesting Read from the BBC – Every School ‘needs dog as stress-buster‘.